‘All I ever wanted to be was an engineer’, Dr Andy Palmer CMG told a captivated room of Club members and their guests at the inaugural London Motor Week Dinner on Wednesday 1 November. Beginning his career as a 16-year-old apprentice, the now President and CEO of Aston Martin, shared insights into all aspects of the company, from the development of their brand to the confidential product plan over the next few years.
‘Everything we do is for the love of beautiful’ Palmer explained, sharing the philosophy that shapes every Aston Martin design and decision. ‘We aren’t like Ferrari; we don’t want to be the fastest and focus on milliseconds. What differentiates us it that we always seek to make every element the most beautiful in its segment.’
Every Aston Martin car takes at least 200 man-hours to produce and is ‘hand-made right down to the badge’, Palmer said. Not one to hide in an office, the audience were told he still inspects each new car and even puts the plaques on himself. ‘We only have one robot in the factory which is used to evenly spread glue on the aluminium. He goes by the name James Bonder’.
Following the presentation, host Steve Fowler put a few questions to Palmer before turning the microphone to the audience for a Q&A. With questions ranging from emissions and autonomous cars, to apprenticeship schemes and the timely issue of keeping motoring factories in the UK, Palmer answered all with some truly fascinating insights. There was also a personal glimpse into his sometimes-difficult balancing act between CEO and family man.
Palmer is an incredibly passionate man who genuinely lives and breathes Aston Martin. When asked how the company has changed since his time as CEO, he stated quite simply, ‘I hope I brought its mojo back’. We think so, and the Club thanks Andy Palmer for presenting the first London Motor Week Dinner, which we have no doubt will become an annual event.
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